Ham Radio Band for Wi-Fi

Ofcom is consulting on plans to put Wi-Fi across Amateur and Amateur Satellite spectrum in the 5 GHz band 

The Ofcom consultation document implies that amateur satellites in 5 GHz only operate in very Low Earth Orbits. This is false, radio amateurs have sent 5 GHz payloads into far higher orbits. Examples are the Venus orbiter Unitec-1 which operated on 5.840 MHz and AO-40 which is in a 58,836 km High Earth Orbit (HEO). The 5 GHz band will also be used by the Geosynchronous Phase-4B payload and the HEO Phase-3E satellite both of which are currently under construction. 

Ofcom's proposal to use 5725-5850 MHz for Wi-Fi would adversely affect reception of the network of amateur weak-signal propagation beacons.

In Ofcom’s press release, Ofcom state that there is pressure on the band usage caused by the need to deliver faster broadband services.

The standard 2.4Ghz band of Wi-Fi radios is very congested, hence the need to expand into the 5Ghz range, supported by newer broadband routers.

To make connections faster, Ofcom is proposing to open up an additional ‘sub-band’ within the 5 GHz frequency range for Wi-Fi – while ensuring protection for other users, such as satellite services.

The extra sub-band would increase the number of 80 MHz channels available for Wi-Fi from four to six, to accommodate data-hungry applications. These extra channels – which are already being used in the United States – could be opened up in around two to three years.

The consultation closes on 22nd July 2016.

Ofcom 5 GHz consultation - http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/consultations/5-GHz-Wi-Fi/

The UK Microwave Group loans equipment to get amateurs started on 5.7 GHz -